Radio: it's not just a hobby, it's a way of life

Current Operating Frequency and Mode

OFF AIR for storms, probably for much of the week if the forecast holds

Strong trans-Pacific sunrise peak for many stations in western portions of North American into the central US; W5EST presents: ” ’Leaning Chimney’ Approach to Make Sense of Early and Late Solar Eclipse Decodes”

– Posted in: 630 Meter Daily Reports, 630 Meters

The details for September 9, 2016 can be viewed here.

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Neither 630-meters nor 2200-meters are open to amateurs in the US yet. That includes stations using fake or pirated call signs. Please continue to be patient and let the FCC finish their processes. UPDATED: Click here to view the proposed “considerate operators” frequency usage guide for 630-meters under Part-97 rules that was developed with the input of active band users.

If you exclude Florida, the eastern half of North America was generally storm-free through this session.  A flare-up occurred in the Nebraska / South Dakota region this morning and there were a number of areas in the West into British Columbia and Alberta that experienced evening and overnight storms.  The Caribbean remains quite active as Hurricane Irma approaches the tip of Florida.

11-hour North American lightning summary


Geomagnetic conditions reached persistent G3 and G4 storm levels during this session as Kp indices ranged from 5 to 8.  Proton levels have started to decrease as the Kp has trended downward but its unclear whether additional spikes are likely.  The A-index has been near 96 for much of the session.  The Bz is at unity this morning with solar wind velocities near 565 km/s. Evening and overnight solar wind velocities were averaging near 675 km/s.   DST values are trending upward but remain at very disturbed levels.





Peter, VK3YE, reported on the VK/ZL 600m email reflector that he would be QRV on CW starting at 340pm local time on 473 kHz for five minutes.  He was seeking QSO’s but indicated that he expected his signal to be weak if audible at all from his location about 30 km South of Melbourne.  No signal reports or QSO’s have been posted at this time.

Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, reported that he decoded eight WSPR stations and he received reports from 31 unique stations.  he notes that he and others in the region are working to improve their receive systems.  Doug also indicated that “Years of BCB DXing seem to show that disturbed conditions with high A and esp K indices correlates with very good N/S conditions.”

David, N1DAY / WI2XUF, reported an alternating strategy of station evaluation in the Southeast:

“Last night seemed to be a sluggish night on 630M here in Western NC with spots coming in slowly over the course of the evening.  I ended up with 9 receive spots, and 27 unique spots of my transmissions.  I modified my tee antenna horizontal elements and I guess the best way to describe the antenna now is half Tee facing North, and half umbrella facing south.  This reduced the induction coil by another 2 turns and over the course of the summer I have reduced turns needed for resonance from 35 to 16.     Two of our local spotters – W4IOE – Sid and N1HO – Brandy are also experiencing good success with their RX antennas now.  Each had 8 unique spots in the last 12 hours.  Congrats!  Starting tonight, I will go into receive mode for the next week as Ernie – Wi2XQU goes into transmit mode.  We’ve taken turns doing this throughout the year with report comparisons and incremental station changes.  The strategy has worked well for both of us in development of our 630M capabilities.”

Mike, WA3TTS, reported that he decoded eight WSPR stations overnight, including session best DX WH2XXP at  -4 dB S/N at 0506z.

Dave, N4DB, indicated cool weather and lower QRN in Virginia during this session.  He provided reports for nine WSPR stations overnight.

Trans-Pacific report details, excluding KL7 and KH6, can be viewed here.

Hideo, JH3XCU, submitted this link detailing DX -> JA decode totals and DX -> JA S/N peaks for the session, as reported on the Japanese language 472 kHz website.

Roger, VK4YB, received reports from JA1NQI-2, K6SRO, KJ6MKI, N6GN, VE6JY, VE6XH, VE7SL, W6SFH, WG2XIQ, WG2XSV, WI2XJQ, and WW6D.  He shared two-way reports with WH2XCR, WG2XXM, WH2XGP and WI2XBQ.  Roger indicates that “Tonight I was txing and rxing on the North East beam which is 900ft long and 120 feet high at the highest point.  I did have a lot of QRN from storms in the Tasman sea which built up as the evening progressed.  Last spot from NA was from W6SFH at 14:10z, 23 minutes after sunrise in San Francisco.”  Roger submitted these statistics:

Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, reported that he decoded twelve WSPR stations and he received reports from 46 unique stations including VK2XGJ and ZL2AFP and five Canadian stations.  He shared two-way reports with ZF1EJ, WH2XCR and five reports for VK4YB, best -21 dB S/N at 13442 km distance.  Ken indicates that he was listening with the transmit vertical and K3 with no preamp in-line.

Joe, NU6O / WI2XBQ, provided reports for seven WSPR stations and he received reports from 22 unique stations including ZL2AFP and VK2XGJ.  He shared two-way reports with VK4YB.

Rick, W7RNB / WI2XJQ, provided reports for seven WSPR stations and he received reports from fourteen unique stations including VK4YB.  Rick’s unique report details can be viewed here.

Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, received reports from 55 unique stations including ZL2AFP, VK4YB, VK2XGJ, VK2EIK, VK4AQJ (First time report), EJTSWL, VK3WRE, VK3ALZ and VK5AKK.

WH2XXP 24-hour WSPR activity (courtesy NI7J)


Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, provided reports for ten WSPR stations and he received reports from 32 unique stations including ZF1EJ, ZL2AFP, ZL1EE, ZL4EI, VK2XGJ, VK3ALZ, VK7TW and VK3WRE.  He shared two-way reports with VK4YB and indicates that VK station reports continued through the sunrise period.  Larry indicates that he has returned his operation to the main transmit vertical although it is currently being held together with alligator clips and duct tape.  Stay tuned!

WH2XGP session WSPR activity (courtesy NI7J)


I started WSPR around 0120z and experienced mostly ‘standard fare’.  Domestic openings favored East and West paths with a few North and South reports as the evening progressed.   The eastern paths were particularly good later in the evening and I suspect the same could be said about the West had I remained on the air long enough so the same amount of darkness could be realized as their counterparts in the East.  I QRT’ed a little later than normal, at 0402z.  This morning I overslept (or slept in, take your pick!) so I started up again a bit later than normal at 1106z and continued through 1208z, just a few minutes after sunrise.  The morning was very productive including two-way reports with WH2XCR and three reports of VK4YB, one about 3 minutes before sunrise and another about 3 minutes after sunrise.  As I related to Roger, VK4YB, in the ON4KST chat, we have not observed a lot of persistent sunrise peaks up until now.  There have been a few days where openings have been seen but over the past few weeks, these openings have become almost common place.  I think its key to have low noise and perhaps enough power to realize the opening which isn’t an earth-shattering revelation but goes a long way to reinforce those points.  If we are ever going to share two-way QSO’s on these paths, its probably going to have to somehow correspond to these peaks, just like they often correspond on 160-meters.  It seems like a window opens to the North and Northwest and drifts to the South and East.  Where that window intersects with the lower noise levels associated with sunrise and the terminator is where the reports are realized.  Of course this is an over-simplification but it does seem to be loosely supported by the data.

The coming season may be amazing but may pale in comparison with the coming solar minimum if we can maintain enough magnetic field to shield the Earth from galactic cosmic rays which threaten to increase D-layer absorption (research Maunder minimum discussions for more information).   I may perform a few days of receive only experiments using my directional antennas and multiple receivers to cover multiple incoming wave angles.  All reports today were using the transmit vertical as noise levels were very low here.  I often find it to be the most consistent receive antenna when noise levels are low.  My WSPR transmission report details can be viewed here and my WSPR reception report details can be viewed here.

WG2XIQ 4-hour WSPR activity


Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:


North American 24-hour WSPR activity


European 24-hour WSPR activity


Japanese 24-hour WSPR activity


Oceania 24-hour WSPR activity


Eden, ZF1EJ, provided reports for ten WSPR stations. He received reports from 28 unique stations and he shared two-way reports with WH2XCR.

ZF1EJ 24-hour WSPR activity


Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, experienced a significantly better night compared to recent sessions, providing reports for four WSPR stations.  Laurence also implied that he was reporting many stations while on assignment in England using his portable receiver and L400b probe but there are no reports for G4DMA currently listed in the database.  He may not have Internet access where he is staying so perhaps reports will be uploaded later.

WE2XPQ 24-hour WSPR activity


Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, provided reports for thirteen WSPR stations including VK3HP.  He shared two-way reports with ZF1EJ, VK4YB and ZL1EE. Merv received reports from 31 unique stations including JA1NQI-2, WE2XPQ, VK2EIK, VK2XGJ, VK3GJZ, VK3ALZ, VK3NFI (first time report),  VK3WRE, VK5AKK, VK7TW, ZL4EI and ZL2AFP.  DX report details can be viewed here.

WH2XCR 24-hour WSPR activity



“Let’s drill deeper into solar eclipse effects on the ionosphere at 630m. I’m following the lead of Stankov et al. (2017), who emphasize the importance of eclipse geometry in the ionosphere, see: http://njdtechnologies.net/090817/  . Today’s post considers an eclipse geometry explanation of the mysteriously early 630m propagation as the 8/21/17 eclipse-affected ionosphere approached the Pacific Northwest– and the mysteriously late 630m propagation as the eclipse departed into the Atlantic Ocean from the southeastern USA. 630m mysteries during the solar eclipse were discussed at http://njdtechnologies.net/082617/ and http://njdtechnologies.net/082817/

In the upper half of the illustration, the geography of the solar eclipse features several dashed ovals spaced along the track of totality.  At far left over the Pacific, and at far right over eastern Oregon, the ovals roughly represent a 3D uplifted dome-shape that resembles a leaning chimney toward the sun.

Not far from the middle of the geography a pair of ovals, one much larger than the other, represent lines in the ionosphere of equal angles of steepness relative to the horizontal, meaning steepness of the 630m reflective contour surface in the E-region.  In the pair, one oval is close to the totality oval for 10:22 PDT (1722z) where the 630m reflective contour surface is quite steep and can laterally skew the 630m RF greatly.  The larger oval represents shallower angles where the 630m reflective contour surface is far less steep and can’t laterally skew the 630m RF as much.

The lower half of the illustration looks generally north to profile the pertinent 630m signal rays. And upwardly slanted chimney-like indent points toward and aligns with the total solar eclipse as it moves along the eclipse track. Three of its positions are depicted. A hatbrim- or funnel- shaped 630m reflective contour surface surrounds the slanted center. The surface represents more moderate uplifting of the E-region and D-region over areas in partial eclipse.

Now let’s start west over the Pacific comparing the geography with the profile at 10:00 a.m.PDT, for the 1700-1702z WSPR slot.  The complicated contour surface in the E-region is centered at considerable distance from VE7BDQ and WD2XSH/20, who nevertheless achieved a decode at 1700z.  At that distance for reflection to occur requires a very tilted angle of steepness, which would only occur near the slanted cylindrical shadow of totality.  Both the ascending and descending rays would enjoy diminished absorption in the D-region on such a path, while connecting via the only part of the geometry in the E-region capable of delivering a reflection that would reach the RX station at WD2XSH/20.

Another VE7BDQ-xsh/20 decode responded to the 1720-1722z slot.  Here the eclipse geometry–not of the slanted chimney but of the surrounding hatbrim instead – provides two points of connective reflection between TX and RX. One reflection is closer to totality and the other one farther from totality as a consequence of the steeper angle needed to reflect an RF ray coming from a longer distance than from a shorter one.

Soon the morning solar eclipse has moved still farther east where the same leaning-chimney contour surfaces cannot reflectively connect TX to RX because they are slanted in the wrong direction to support such “late” reflection, given their eastward geographic position. Conversely, in the USA Southeast, where it is afternoon, an RF signal ray analysis of the completed WH2XXC-wi2xqu path indicates correctly that the lean of the “chimney” earthward from SW to NE would support late reflections and not early ones.

In this approach, the eclipse shadow is like a leaning chimney, only the chimney leans in different directions due to the different directions of slant during the different local times of day across the USA. The drastic contrast between intense ionizing solar radiation outside the eclipse shadow and the lower radiation level inside the eclipse shadow builds a moving structure of reshapen electron concentration contours in and near the slanted shadow column.  Since the eclipse shadow column is not vertical through the ionosphere, and thus not symmetrical as seen from the zenith above, the moving structure of reflective contours it builds cannot be symmetrical either.  It is this assymetry that in my view was responsible for the inability of the 630m RF paths to complete on one side of totality arrival time and not the other.

What about station pairs at other geographic positions who achieved decodes like XGP-XBQ and WH2XXP-wh2xgp—or for that matter, how to understand what happened with station pairs who decoded but didn’t see an eclipse enhancement or who didn’t achieve a decode at all under the eclipse?  Similar ray inspection of the eclipse geometry of the E-region and of the absorption in the D-region below would be an approach to try make sense of it all.  In this way, I suggest that a recognition of solar eclipse geometry can offer us insight into what has at least for me been a baffling mix of 630m solar eclipse mysteries.   TU & GL on 630m !”

(Click to enlarge)

Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page or directly to KB5NJD gmail dot (com)!